Monday, January 12, 2009

Tampa Headed for Tragedy. . .

I am listening to the Team990 in Montreal, where Mike Brophy is speaking with Tony Marinaro, and I can hardly believe my ears.

I knew - knew - the situation in Tampa Bay was not good. I mean from the random flagrant signing of almost every player during the off-season (many with no rhyme or reason), to the Barry Melrose worst-kept-secret-ever of replacing John Torterella as coach, to the early mis-treatment of superstars St. Louis and Lecavalier, to Melrose's early firing, the benching of Steven Stamkos, and now to the unbelievable financial woes.

I could have written a blog a week on the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. I knew they wouldn't be great. Ironically though, their offense suffered, which most people would not think on a team that boasts such offensive talent. Their goaltending, for a while, shone, actually. But make no mistake, the pieces never fit together. Not all that surprisingly.

And now, on January 12th, Mike Brophy is saying he very much expects Vincent Lecavalier to be traded by trade deadline. (March 4th for those of you that haven't already got it circled on your calendar.)

Vincent Lecavalier? The man I thought was untouchable? The man I've many times lauded for what he means to the area of Tampa Bay?

Want more?

Lecavalier, St. Louis, and - - Steven Stamkos!

"Stamkos?" asked Marinaro.

"They are heading for a complete firesale," said Brophy.

Wow. I'm shocked and stunned on this Monday morning.

It wasn't too long ago HNIC's Ron McClean had one of the owners from Tampa on the show (Oren Koules?) - you know, the one who did those SAW movies. He didn't go too far into details, but he must have hid the horrifically inevitable well. Tampa is not as sunny as we all thought.

New coach - gone coach. New ownership - gone ownership?

And in my opinion, if Vincent Lecavalier is traded. . .

Bye bye to hockey in Tampa Bay. Done and done.

And it will be very sad.

Around the League/Columbus:

In other notes, while I'm on it, Mike Brophy went onto say that if the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs, rookie goalie Steve Mason might be in line for:

The Calder.

The Vezina.


The Hart.

Honestly, ignoring the hardware, what a GREAT story that would be. A long time finger-crosser for those other guys in blue, I would be thrilled if they made the playoffs. Thrilled. The league needs Rick Nash to be on a bigger stage. And as for Mason...any doubt the Rookies will beat the Sophomores in the Young Stars game in 2 weeks? right....

More to come, I guess. A shame. A true shame.


Kerri said...

I'm so in for the Bluejackets making the playoffs and kicking some serious butt. I've never followed the franchise but I did have a thing for Tyutin, and I'm really happy to see him succeeding over there. Mason is amazing, they have to be thrilled in Columbus right now. Even if they don't make the playoffs, what a bright future!

As for the big joke which is Tampa.... TRADING STAMKOS? WHAT?! He should be part of the corner stone of their franchise!

They need to leave this kid alone. He's not producing the way they might have expected, but they also have held back his ice time and he was never going to be Crosby or Ovechkin, anyway. He's fricken' 18 years old, give him a break and let him to his thing, he'll be fine.

I almost kind of understand trading Lecavalier? I mean you could get major picks or prospects for the guy. Problem is that unlike in Canada, hockey needs a serious draw down south. Lecavalier is their draw. Without him, attendance will fall... as will everything else about the club. He makes them worth seeing.

Doesn't the trade deadline seem late?

kels said...

Remember Manny Malhotra? That was my reason for following the Blue Jackets. Wayne Gretzky said he'd be captain someday. Well...he's not captain, but he's an assistant, a great 3rd/4th line center, and a fan favorite. Great guy.

Tyutin was a good kid and yes he's been very successful so far over there, away from NY, Renney, and crappy defensemen with big contracts!

But yeah, Columbus. I followed quite a bit and they did great with fans; apparently Nationwide arena is beautiful. But 9 years and no playoffs, some fans have stopped coming. I'd just love to see the playoffs happen sooner rather than later.

I hope the Stamkos thing was a joke, but in my mind, still, if Vincent and half the team goes, they will not be able to draw anything long enough to keep the franchise. Stamkos will be fine, but he can't do it alone.

It does! Weren't they all about making it earlier so there was time for traded players to gel with their new team? That lasted long.

Kerri said...

Unfortunately for Malhotra, he was expected to be more than a third/fourth liner which is why he didn't really succeed here. Although, Renney has a thing for fourth liners so maybe he would be happy here (lol). In any case, I didn't follow Malhotra too closely, I just know that Ranger fans were disappointed with his production.

Listen, if the Bluejackets make the playoffs, I'll be thrilled. I think Columbus is a great area to push hockey. They've got some real future stars on their team, so it could be a real successful franchise for years to come. The West is annoying... same teams over and over again. I really like the Red Wings, but how many times do we have to watch them win? Good for Phoenix, too, who might actually make the playoffs (but the league is paying their bills right now X_X... read, the Rangers and the Maple Leafs are paying their bills, lol).

I think this was brought up about Atlanta, too... they NEED Kovalchuk, not because Little isn't good enough or the team won't score enough goals, but it's the NAME they need to draw attention and make a fan base. The Rangers don't have a name like that... maybe Hank... but it doesn't matter because the Rangers still always sell out; there is an established base here.

Trade deadline SHOULD be earlier, so I have less time to sweat it out. However, the regular season goes until mid April, and usually early April does it for the NHL, except for Olympic years, which this happens not to be one. So... who knows, really?

kels said...

I think Manny was rushed, but I agree with you in that they expected more.

Rangers have been ruining youth for a long time. He's an example, perhaps. We'll never know. I'm sure he loved playing with Gretzky - what Canadian kid wouldn't?

But the way Muckler and those other random coaches mis-used every fourth line guy - do not get me started! Guys dressed and never even played! That was bad stuff.

I personally wished Manny stayed and was all that fans hoped him to be. But I'm just as happy to see him fill an important role on another team.

AGREE on Kovalchuk. Like Lecavalier in Tampa Bay, if Kovalchuk goes - goodbye Atlanta. I have no doubt. You can't go from having Hossa, Savard, and Kovalchuk, to losing all three, and thinking you are going to be able to keep fans.

Bryan Little btw. NO idea what is going up with his hair, but he is very pretty in interviews.